At 1,260,200 hectares, Fiordland National Park is the largest in New Zealand and one of the largest in the world. The park contains the most extensive continuous tract of indigenous forest in New Zealand, some of the best examples of glacial sculpting and an unbroken transition of plant communities from rain forest to sub alpine, wetlands, coastline, a high number of endemic plant and animal species and a special set of marine ecosystems.
A prodigious rainfall that is not characterized by its frequency, more it’s intensity, nourishes Fiordland’s rain forests. When it rains, it does the job properly and this is when the valley walls metamorphose into curtains of water, disgorging more waterfalls than you can imagine. The moist environment cloaks the beech and podocarp trees in a shroud of moss, with innumerable hues of green. A heartening number of native birds such as Kereru, Kaka and Kea add their primeval song to the sound of rushing water in the streams.
The landscapes you will encounter as you explore Fiordland are unparalleled on the planet. The precipitous valley walls, the work of lumbering glaciers, still hint at their past with the last remnants clinging to the highest peaks. The fiords crown the text-book glacial scenery, Milford being described by Rudyard Kipling as the “eighth wonder of the world”.
Maori legend tells how Tu-te-raki-whanoa, starting with Piopiotahi (Milford Sound), painstakingly carved out this perfect mountain sculpture with his Maakahi (wedge), a land of shadows that would last forever.
When the underworld goddess Hineuitepo saw it, she was angered. Tu-te-raki-whanoa’s masterpiece was too good for mortals, so she filled it with Te Namu, the Sandfly to ensure mortals would not linger.
Marakura is the original name for Lake Te Anau, in Maori it literally translates into “red earth” or “red rock” and it is believed to refer to a red lichen that covers rocks in areas on the Lakeshore and was used as a landmark for directions.
Early Maori travelers would follow the Waiau River from Colac Bay to Marakura. From Marakura ancestors followed the Greenstone trail a route either along today’s Milford Track to Milford Sound to collect Pounamu, or through the Hollyford Valley to the Greenstone.
Marakura was a summer camp and a rich source of eels to capture and store in preparation for the winter.
The Te Anau Lakeview Kiwi Holiday Park has a very privileged location. We stand in the shadow of the Takatimu Mountains, a site of significant cultural and spiritual importance for Ngai Tahu. The Takitimu canoe was one of the seven great canoes of the migration of Maori to Aotearoa.
Our Lakeside Holiday Park affords supreme views of Ngai Tahu Taonga – the treasures of Lake Te Anau, the Kepler Mountains and the land of the Moho – the Murchison Mountains, which is the home of the Takahe.
Marakura was and still is the gateway for explorers entering Fiordland National Park. Modern day travelers can literally follow in the footsteps of Maori ancestors along the Waiau River, into Milford Sound, the Hollyford and the Greenstone.
Europeans arrived with Captain Cook in 1770. His observations enticed sealers and whalers to the coast. Later explorers such as Quintin Mackinnon journeyed to the fiords from inland, pioneering routes over rugged ranges. Real progress wasn’t made until the completion of the Milford Road in the late 1950’s.
The Te Anau – Milford Sound Highway allows today’s travellers to explore the surroundings with more ease than those early adventurers. The landscapes are still the same and a trip into Fiordland will leave you with the same awe as anyone lucky enough to visit this majestic corner of the planet.
Welcome again to Te Anau, we trust you’ll enjoy your stay in the gateway to Milford Sound and Fiordland National Park. If you require any assistance planning your trips, activities or journey into Fiordland National Park our friendly team is here to assist you.